Health insurance fund problems raise concerns

Many cities and provinces are overspending their health insurance funds while Vietnam Social Security (VSS) is tightening its payouts, said Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien.



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At a conference on solutions to obstacles in health insurance services held in HCMC on October 16, Tien said the national health insurance fund is limited while prices of healthcare services have increased and health insurance premiums are woefully low, causing concerns for both VSS and hospitals.

Health insurance agencies find it hard to timely and adequately pay out healthcare services for hospitals, putting patients at stake.

Tien asked both health insurance organizations and hospitals to join forces to solve such shortcomings. Doctors should allow patients to take only those medical tests seen as necessary and prescribe drugs with reasonable prices, the minister noted.

Pham Luong Son, deputy general director of  VSS, said 90% of the money mobilized for the health insurance fund will be allocated within a year as stipulated in the Health Insurance Law.

The health insurance fund is expected to mobilize VND69 trillion (US$3.04 billion) this year. VSS has assigned provincial social insurance agencies to coordinate with departments of health to develop suitable plans to use the money appropriately.

To ensure benefits for the insured and balance the health insurance fund, VSS has tapped the reverse fund for the first quarter to cover spending in provinces by October 5. Especially, 15 provinces have overspent their health insurance funds by 120% to 150% this year.

The health insurance sector should restructure its system and promote information technology application, according to Son.

VSS is currently preparing a plan to improve its assessment quality and expects 100% of assessment work to be done online by next year.

According to statistics of VSS, there were 121 million patients taking medical check-ups and treatments in the first nine months of this year and VND64.3 trillion was spent on the insured. Up to 35 provinces have overspent the health examination and treatment funds for the whole year, 13 provinces have spent over 90% and eight others 80%.

SGT

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